Dear John brings together a totally believable and charming cast--the lovely Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum--with a tried-and-true romantic plot that will have a new generation of movie fans and lovers reaching for their hankies. Director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, My Life as a Dog) again proves his deft handling of young actors portraying feelings and emotions far beyond their years.
His direction, along with the stellar performances of the cast, will have Dear John lingering in the memory long after viewing. Tatum plays a soldier home on leave (the John of the title), when he meets Savannah (Seyfried), a college student. The two may not have been looking for love, but love finds them anyway. Then the September 11 attacks happen, and John is torn between love for Savannah and duty to country. Because this is an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, there will be drama and heartbreak, and Dear John doesn't tread lightly in this emotional battlefield. But there's a delicacy in the performances, especially Seyfried's, which transcends the almost-cookie-cutter character outlines given to the actors. Also worthy of mention are supporting cast members Richard Jenkins (as John's quiet, autistic dad) and Henry Thomas (as Tim, a single dad who goes to nearly impossible lengths to avoid breaking the heart of his son). See Dear John with an open heart, and know that it will be deeply touched. --A. T. Hurley
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